During the first day at the Academy, Canillia had memorized all the nobles who were active in the capital.
Many people had come to greet her without giving her a moment to rest.
And some had looked down on her, while others seemed to respect her.
Canillia had let out a sigh when she’d become aware of Count Tholin purposely glaring at her.
He was such a bother.
If he didn’t like her, then why couldn’t he leave her alone.
Yet, he chose to follow her around while showing contempt behind her back.
After four days, Canillia started becoming accustomed to the Academy.
But because the people taking classes with her were older, she couldn’t get close to them.
However, she also learned how not to be pushed out of the group.
“Is Duke Claude not participating in class” Canillia had asked while moving to another building for a science class.
Principal Eddy had laughed as if she was asking something obvious.
“He’s not remaining in the Academy because he needs to learn.
He is acting as the observer for the Crown Prince.”
“The Crown Prince is too free-spirited.
Anyway, have you adjusted to life in the capital”
“Yes, it’s okay.”
As she’d walked across the immaculate campus grounds, Canillia had felt a raindrop on her skin.
Surprised, she’d run into the building, leaving behind the principal, who’d seemed to have a lot to say.
Tholin had still followed her around without hiding his displeasure, and even more of the people had greeted Lia.
She’d ignored them all because her mind was focused solely on the monsoon season that would begin that day.
It was the season when she’d left Louvre, and now she’d returned.
Her heart had beat so fast that her chest had hurt.
She didn’t know if it was anticipation, fear, or nerves, but something had felt as if it was filling her heart.
“Class is starting,” one of the students had called out.
And just as she’d stepped inside, the rain had started to pour down.
“I’ve got the message, Sir Canillian.” Marilyn Shelby looked beautiful today as she always did.
The red hair of the lady wearing a red dress was shining underneath the light from the crystal chandelier.
Canillia brushed her wet shoulders as she walked into the house and then greeted Marilyn, who happened to be taller than her.
“Sorry I couldn’t attend the last party.”
It was only a recovery party.
But I didn’t think Sir Canillian would accept my uncle’s proposition to dress like a girl.
Are you sure that’s okay”
Although it wasn’t as big as Marquis Gliade’s home, Marquis Shelby owned a large townhouse in the capital.
And it might be fancier than the palace!
Lia didn’t know where to look as they led her down the hallway because everything was bright and shiny.
When she walked through the door, Pepe and a hairdresser waited for her inside.
Straight away, she saw a gorgeous dress and headdress.
Lia looked nervous, and Marilyn thought it was embarrassment instead of nerves and laughed.
Even if you dress like a girl, there will still be some resemblance to a man.”
“I’m also worried about that,” Lia said, looking shy all of a sudden.
“It takes a long time for a lady to get ready, so take your time.
When your escort arrives, I’ll let you know.”
“Yes, thank you,” Lia replied sheepishly.
Marilyn was treating her like a little brother, and it felt weird.
When she’d left the room, Lia walked over to Pepe, who looked more nervous than her, and said, “We’ll pick a rich color for the hair.”
The hairdresser’s eyes widened at Lia’s casual comment.
“But the honey color will suit you more.”
“I don’t like it to be the same color as my hair.
Pick another color.”
The hairdresser quickly opened a brown leather bag and took out a bunch of different colored wigs.
Lia picked the brunette one, which looked the most subtle.
She didn’t want to stand out if she bumped into Claude.
Lia felt a bit scared and trembled at the thought of him just staring at her.
And then she had a bizarre idea about thanking him for ignoring her.
Lia glanced at Pepe, leaning against the closed door, and she nodded in agreement with the wig.
Then, out of all the dresses hanging on the rod, the fanciest one was picked up by Pepe, who then said to the hairdresser, “Please leave.
I can do the rest.
My young master does not like other people touching him.”
Marilyn’s heart pounded in her chest at the sight of Claude getting out of the car.
She admired the golden stripe on the white army uniform and the hair on his head that had been combed back neatly.
His confident walk, and the dignity that resonated from head to toe, was the pride of the House of Duke Ihar itself.
She longed for a man like this to be hers, and she noticed how everyone stared at him.
Marilyn quickly instructed the servants to leave, and then with a relaxed smile, approached Claude.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Your Majesty, the Duke.”
“Where is Canillian” Claude asked without even greeting her.
“He’s getting ready and should be almost done by now.
Why don’t you drink some tea while waiting with me” Marilyn put on a gorgeous smile and linked her arms in his.
All the effort she’d put into her appearance was just for Claude.
Even the cold-hearted Duke should have a different reaction to being in a room alone with such a beautiful woman.
Marilyn led him to an outside area where an awning was covering the veranda.
It had been requested by the wife of the Marquis so that people could observe the rain falling in the garden without getting wet.
Claude sat on a chair and glanced over at the fancy white tea table.
“Have you been well I was surprised that Your Majesty, the Duke, was leading this investigation yourself.
No, truthfully, I felt touched.
Just for me, thank you.” Marilyn cooed.
Claude raised his eyebrows as he was lifting his teacup.
Seeing this, Marilyn smiled and continued, “I know that you took it to heart that such a thing happened to me.
But I’m okay now.
So you don’t have to lead it yourself.
The person who put the scar on my neck is dangerous, and I’m worried that you might get hurt.”
Claude looked at Marilyn and noticed she was blushing.
“You can’t allow the person who hurt a youngster like that to get away with it.
I think it’s the correct decision for the House of Duke to lead this investigation to get rid of fear for the nobles.”
His words were just what Marilyn wanted to hear, and she looked at him with an expression that suggested she was about to cry.
Claude felt a little annoyed at her.
It was common for her to show tears because she had a weak personality, but he didn’t understand why she was so insecure.
The rain fell heavily, and Claude put his teacup in the saucer.
He looked out at the pretty garden and sighed.
Just like the atmosphere in the garden, which felt somewhat heavy due to the rain, his heart also kept sinking.
Unwillingly, he’d become Canillian’s escort.
He’d tried to avoid this task, but in the end, there was no choice in the matter.
“Madam, Sir Canillian is ready.”
Claude was deep in thought but turned his head when he heard the servant, and Marilyn said, “Escort him here.” The servant who received Marilyn’s short order opened up the umbrella and walked alongside the wall.
And then someone soon appeared with him.
The moment that Claude saw the lady who wore a dress that shined like diamonds and held an umbrella with lace, Claude clenched his hands.
The dark green eyes that spotted him also visibly shook.
And the teacup made of ceramic cracked in his hand.
His calm heart felt as if it had gotten pierced by an unseen object. Goddammit.